Stourbridge Junction has been named Britain’s favourite station after winning the World Cup of Stations 2021.
The West Midlands Railway site claimed the accolade ahead of more than 2,500 stations after winning an online vote held by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train operators.
Having come through a close semi-final, Stourbridge went up against Scottish stations Aviemore and Glasgow Central as well as St Ives in Cornwall in the nail-biting final. Stourbridge overtook Glasgow Central in the last few minutes of voting, claiming 43.3% of the votes compared to the Scottish station’s 40.9%.
Stourbridge’s bid for glory was boosted by popular station cat George, who has amassed a large following on social media site Twitter, where the voting was carried out.
As well as providing passengers with links to Kidderminster, Birmingham and Stratford, the station is popular with enthusiasts for being home to Europe’s shortest branch line – a 0.8-mile ride to Stourbridge Town.
Simone Carter, West Midlands Railway’s station manager for Stourbridge, said:
“A big thank you to everyone who voted for us. This is a huge honour for everyone who works at the station and we are all celebrating. In fact, since he heard the news, our Senior Mouse Catcher, George, hasn’t come off the roof.”
Jacqueline Starr, chief executive of the RDG, said:
“Congratulations to Stourbridge Junction station and all the staff. It was a close-run contest and though there can only be one champion, the groundswell of support for Stourbridge Junction and all stations and rail staff across the country is testament to the crucial role they play in their areas and how they support local communities and businesses.”
The competition came as stations up and down the country are welcoming more and more passengers back on board. The summer saw a huge uplift of leisure journeys to almost pre-pandemic levels with staycationers, daytrippers and shoppers making the most of stress-free travel to arrive at their destinations. Commuter rail journeys are also steadily increasing with workers going back to offices.
Research commissioned by RDG, which ran the World Cup of Stations, shows the important role of a thriving railway and estimates that the total spend of rail passengers on things like shops, restaurants and hotels, generates £133bn a year for local businesses nationally, and £6.5bn in the West Midlands.
Photo credit: West Midlands Trains